Saturday, September 13, 2014

Choosing Miles

Here's what my morning looked like:

I got up reasonably early, before 6. Then I did my spiritual study. Then I went to the park and jog walked for 14 miles. Two pauses for pit stops and one pause to talk to a friend. Then after the run, I went to the grocery store, so a few steps there.

I know a woman who is 10 years older than me who is totally jazzed because she finally got an entry to a 100 mile race she has wanted to do for years. I know another who is just as old who walks faster than I jog, and competes in multi-day events doing hundreds of miles. Is that not awesome to know these women exist?

Doing miles. What else would life be for?

Today I learned that the Nathan is still quite comfortable with an extra 20 oz bottle in the front pocket. Also that the Camelbak 2L bladder is better than the Nathan 2L bladder; and still works in the Nathan pack. Should I go to San Antonio for a race? Running and racing logistics are about all that is on my mind when I am doing a long run.

Are logistics spiritual? Who cares?

It is silly of me to even ask the question. It is a remnant of my Benedictine formation. See, in monastic formation I was taught about how great monastic life was because it was so focused on God. Then after getting kicked out of the monastery, I tried to continue to be as good as the nuns by continuing to find God in everything I did. So I had to make up stories about how everything is communion.

As I was running today, I again looked at how I feel about other people. I can still see the marked difference between pre-monastic and post-monastic me. So am I broken or evolved?

The nuns eat ice cream on Sunday night; but I did not when I was there.

Choices. No I don't want unhealthy and belittling American life. Here is an analogy. This morning, there were numerous people doing laps in the park (8 mile laps). Some running solo, some in twos or threes. The tri-athletes come flying in on their bikes, lock then at their cars and take off on foot. At one stretch near the school, I could see the full parking lot, hear the rap, and know that little guys were playing football. And many parents are cheering; with more than 30% of them diseased with obesity. Everybody is getting into a frenzy.

The runners are quiet. Often lost in their own little worlds for hours. But not alone as we wave at each other and sometimes stop to chat.

The runners are marginalized from the mass of football parents. It is another world. A choice.

I choose to be separate. I choose spirit. I choose a thought arrangement and physical world arrangement which nourishes spirit. I give space and time to spirit. Logistics gives space and time for spirit.

The day after I was asked to leave the convent, I drove to a nearby town to see about a car. I remember crying a pounding on the steering wheel and asking God why I had to leave the monastery. I clearly heard, "Because you can." That is, I can arrange logistics and focus on God. I don't need a monastery for that.

I don't need to compare myself to nuns anymore. I have confidence in my spiritual journey. I say, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me." And I say, "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit."

And then I do miles. And miles and miles and miles and miles.

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